SURPRISE, Ariz. - With 50 players on hand for the second annual Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Showcase hailing from 29 of the 30 Major League teams, the best-represented "organization" wasn't a team, it was a school.
Four of the Rising Stars were drafted out of Stanford University, including a pair of first-rounders in Texas Rangers outfielder John Mayberry and Boston Red Sox infielder Jed Lowrie, both of whom were selected in 2005.
Also representing the Cardinals were catcher Donny Lucy of the Chicago White Sox and outfielder Sam Fuld of the Chicago Cubs.
Lowrie, Lucy and Fuld were on the East Division squad, while Mayberry was Stanford's lone rep on the West. And while Mayberry was technically playing "against" his former teammates, they all share a bond.
"Stanford was a great baseball and academic school," Mayberry said. "The baseball program was always in contention for a national title."
NO LONE STAR: The only organization without a player in the Rising Stars Showcase was Houston. The Astros originally had catcher J.R. Towles on the East squad, but he went home early. Towles' regular-season campaign went longer than anticipated when he made the big-league club in September.
FIRST YEAR, FIRST TIME: Three 2007 first-round draft picks were playing in the AFL and all three were named to the Rising Stars Showcase: Phillies left-hander Joe Savery, Brewers outfielder Matt LaPorta and Athletics right-hander James Simmons.
LONG DAY: The Phoenix Desert Dogs field staff worked overtime Friday. With the late addition of Team China to the AFL schedule for a week, the Desert Dogs' scheduled off day was replaced by a noon game against China. As soon as that game was over (a 2-1 victory by China), manager Rafael Santana and coaches Todd Steverson, Kimera Bartee, Brandon Moore and Gary Lucas hit the road -- and traffic -- for Surprise to lead the East club in the Rising Stars game. Phoenix also had 11 players in the Showcase, but only two -- outfielders Nolan Reimold (Orioles) and Ryan Sweeney (White Sox) -- played in both games.
BACK AGAIN: Reimold and outfielder Trevor Crowe (Indians) were the lone two players in the 2007 Showcase who also were invited to the 2006 game. Coincidentally, neither one got into the inaugural game. The only other offensive player who did not get into the game last year? Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.
CHANGES ON YOUR SCORECARD: Changes predicated by minor injuries tweaked the Rising Stars rosters at the last minute. For the East, catcher John Jaso (Devil Rays) was replaced by Lucy (White Sox), On the West, reliever Ross Ohlendorf replaced fellow Yankees prospect Kevin Whelan, who left the Fall League due to a sore arm, while outfielder Brett Gardner, also from the Yankees organization, was a last-minute addition when Cameron Maybin (Tigers) and Chris Dickerson (Reds) were scratched. Maybin, one of the AFL's top prospects, was listed as day-to-day as he continues to work his way back from a dislocated shoulder suffered during the regular season. Dickerson, originally tabbed to replace Maybin, was injured Thursday. Shortstop Chin Lung Hu (Dodgers) also was scratched and replaced by shortstop Sean Rodriguez (Angels).
Lisa Winston is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.